In FY05 Military Construction Conference Report
October 11, 2004
Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) announced he was able to secure enabling language and a loan guarantee in the Conference Report that includes the authorization necessary to make the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline a reality. This language is the same language that was in the conference report that accompanied the Energy Bill and was supported by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
"After working for more than 20 years to make this pipeline project a reality, we have finally taken steps to make the Alaska natural gas pipeline happen," said Stevens. "The effect of a lack of natural gas has been evident and can be seen at all levels of our economy - producing job losses, trade deficits and constraints on consumer spending and economic growth."
Stevens says the bill streamlines and clarifies the regulatory process and it will also facilitate private investment and lower borrowing costs at minimal risk to the federal government through a loan guarantee.
Upon passage of the language Congressman Don Young stated "Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens did something we have been working on for 21 years. Their teamwork got this legislation into a position where we can make it law. I passed it through the House, and now they are going to get it through the Senate."
Senator Stevens and Congressman Don Young noted the significant work by Senator Lisa Murkowski, who sought diligently to keep the Alaska gas pipeline alive even after the Senate by failed two votes to invoke cloture on a comprehensive energy bill last November. They said due to her efforts in working with the members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, two tax incentives are in the FSC/ETI conference report which is before the Senate.
"Today is a great day for Alaska and America. With terrific support from Ted Stevens and Don Young, the House has agreed to my proposals to promote the Alaska natural gas pipeline. The tax incentives and regulatory framework we have agreed to finish the federal side of the gas pipeline equation. This secures Alaska's role as America's energy storehouse. For too long our policy has been to discourage domestic production, a policy that has outsourced America's energy supply and hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the energy sector. The Alaska gas pipeline brings Alaska's energy to America and creates American energy jobs in Alaska and around our nation," said Senator Lisa Murkowski
Described as the largest private construction project ever undertaken in our country, the gas pipeline will take 10 years to permit and construct. Upon completion, the Alaska natural gas pipeline will decrease our dependency on foreign gas and imports of liquefied natural gas, generate more than $40 billion in revenues for the federal government and create more than 400,000 jobs.
Highlights of the legislation include directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to quickly permit the pipeline once certain requirements have been met; designating FERC as the lead agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process; creating a Federal Coordinator within the executive branch to coordinate federal agencies; requiring a single environmental impact study, expediting judicial review; and allowing for future pipeline expansions.
The bill also provides a loan guarantee authorizing the Secretary of Energy to enter into agreements with holders of FERC certificates of convenience and necessity for the payment on project loans. The amount of the loans would not exceed 80% of the total capital costs or $18 billion.
The legislation is now waiting approval by the United States Senate.
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